Updates to the waste levy

04 August 2020

Construction and demolition waste will be charged a levy under new changes aimed at diverting material from landfill.

Earlier this year the NZGBC pushed for more to be done to tackle construction and demolition waste through our submission on the Government’s landfill levy proposals. We backed moves to expand the landfill levy to cover construction and demolition waste in order to help make the recovery of materials more viable.

For too long there has been little to no financial incentive to recycle, reuse or divert materials from landfill. The cost has been felt by the environment, but not our wallets. This has meant waste-reduction has primarily been a conscious decision, driven through incentives like Green Star certification or a want to do better. Now that looks set to change.

Last month the Government confirmed construction and demolition landfills will charge $20 a tonne for the sector’s waste from 1 July 2022. This will then increase to $30 from 1 July 2024.

The average house build produces 4-6 tonnes of waste, which initially will increase costs by just $80-$120. Nevertheless, it is no longer a free ride to take waste to the tip, and we’ll be pushing for that cost to go up.

What it does do is further encourages the industry to seek alternatives, while raising revenue to invest in infrastructure and systems to facilitate diversion. We often getting feedback from those in the regions who want to cut down but don’t have access to recycling plants, collection services, or viable alternatives to landfill.

Encouragingly the Government announced the changes alongside an $124 million investment in recycling infrastructure. Investing and incentivising the shift away from taking material to the tip is essential if we’re going to tackle our mountains of construction waste.